Fortunately, there is more awareness than ever before about the negatives of chemicals. Cleaning products abound on the market, and it seems counter intuitive to clean your home with chemicals which may be dangerous for your family. Here are some tips for keeping your home clean, naturally.
1. Prevention is the first defense
The unwanted germs and toxins that exist as you simply walk around outside are incredible. The University of Houston College of Pharmacy did a study that showed 40% of tested shoe bottoms were positive for the bacterium C. difficile, which causes gastrointestinal issues – and is spread by contact with feces. Not to mention the pesticides, automotive oil, and other unwanted substances we may unknowingly walk through on a daily basis. So the first step? Remove your shoes as soon as you get home! Keep a shoe tray right next to each entry point to remind everyone that shoes come off immediately.
2. Make vinegar your best friend
Plain white vinegar is one of the best cleaners you can find; the acid in the vinegar is a great disinfectant. With varying degrees of dilution and some additions here and there, you can clean just about anything.
- In the bathroom, spray full-strength vinegar on countertops and the tub, pour diluted vinegar into the toilet (let sit overnight and use a brush in the morning), and soak your shower head in a diluted solution to remove germs.
- Add salt or baking soda to vinegar and you have a gritty scrub to gently remove stains from many surfaces in your home.
- Use vinegar and water to clean windows.
- Vinegar and baking soda will clean drains and keep them smelling fresh.
- Spray vinegar on your windshield to remove frost in the winter, and spray it on your weeds to kill them in the spring and summer.
- You can even use diluted apple cider vinegar to wash your face!
3. Essential Oils Rock
My multi-purpose cleaner uses water and vinegar but who wants to smell that vinegar smell all throughout their home? Why not add some essential oils for their awesome cleaning properties. Essential oils are created from plant based materials which carry natural anti-microbial compounds that you can use to clean your home. They also offer other medicinal qualities which is a bonus since you’re spending money on one item that has multiple benefits. I love adding lemon or orange essential oil to my water and vinegar cleaner that I use in the kitchen to clean the stove and counts along with my stainless steel fridge. It cleans and deodorizes at the same time. Great for the garbage.
4. Know which off-the-shelf items are safe and effective
There are some cleaning products you can buy at big-box stores that are greener alternatives, but how do you know which ones are effective? Method cleaning products are usually good options; the hand wash works well and comes in a number of fragrances, and the glass+surface cleaner is just as good at cleaning window as Windex. Seventh Generation products are also great – the dishwashing liquid is a good replacement for other brands and is better for your family.
5. Don’t ignore the air filter
Changing your HVAC air filter is one of the most important regular maintenance items in your home. A dirty air filter means it is doing its job, but that also means it needs to be changed frequently (in many homes, as often as every 30 days). That little filter decreases allergens, dirt, germs, and pet hair from flowing through your vents into the air you breathe. Pretty important, right?
6. Outdoor spaces need love too
Keeping insects away in your backyard can be hard without chemicals, but it is possible. Many insects dislike garlic, so make a spray of garlic water (steep a crushed clove in hot water, strain through cheese cloth, and combine the solution with water in a spray bottle) and spritz onto your plants and trees. You can also try burning dried, used coffee grounds (place them on a cookie sheet and light them) – the smoke will repel mosquitoes.
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Keeping your home green is actually much easier than it seems and will also save you money in the long run!